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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Attendees react to hurricane relief concert

Concert-goers+line+up+outside+Reed+Arena%26%23160%3B+before+being+admitted+to+the+One+America+Appeal+concert+Saturday+afternoon.
Photo by Photo by Cristian Aguirre

Concert-goers line up outside Reed Arena  before being admitted to the One America Appeal concert Saturday afternoon.

Arriving for the historic benefit concert on Oct. 21, concert goers expressed a variety of reactions. The gathering of five former presidents, country music legends and the surprise appearance of pop icon Lady Gaga all served as draws to the concert, and every dollar from the ticket sales went to the hurricane relief effort.
The combination of the five presidents and the charitable aspect served as the primary motivating factor for attendance, according to Zach Zaruba, manufacturing and mechanical engineering senior.
“I am most excited about the five presidents being here,” Zaruba said. “This will probably never happen again in any of our lifetimes. It’s interesting to see them here all in one place. It ought to make a good impact and tickets were selling great. Having them all here in one place will raise awareness to make donations.”
Over $33 million was raised over the course of the fundraising, with $31 million of that coming from before the concert and an additional $2 million raised during. The impact of the donations will be invaluable to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Varada Salimath, biomedical sciences senior, said.
“I think it’s going to have a huge impact, not only financially but also just as moral and to show the victims the whole Texas A&M University is 100 percent behind them in this hard time,” Salimath said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see five former living presidents and at the same time be donating and contributing to such a great cause.”
Attendees ranged from current and former students, local residents and even students from other universities.
The concert, which was one of the biggest events ever held at Texas A&M, exceeded the expectation of Benjamin Graybill, mechanical engineering senior.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to be near or even here with five [living former] presidents,” Graybill said. “I thought it was a joke when I first heard they were coming here. I remember the Aggies United event. People were dropping big names of people that were coming to the concert and it was like ok, but here, when someone said ‘All five living ex presidents’ I was like yeah they’re coming to College Station. This concert is definitely a good way to rally the community around Hurricane Harvey.”
Gerardo Montemayor, electrical engineering junior, said he was impressed that the event was pulled together in about a month — considering the combination of all five living former presidents and the surprise of Lady Gaga joining the musical acts.
“You haven’t even realized you’re probably like less than 300 meters away from the last five Presidents, in terms of distance, that’s amazing,” Montemayor said. “This event gives a good representation to A&M. All these bands are coming, then all of a sudden Lady Gaga showed up too. All of this just for helping others. And they put the event together like this. They put it together like within a month.”

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